Friday, June 17, 2011

A Visit to a Dying World

A couple of weeks ago Ann Foley and I took a trip to Toddville where I took some photos of the remains of a once-vital industry on the Chesapeake Bay for a history book we are working on. At one time, hundreds of watermen plied the waters of the bay catching fish, crabs and oysters. Some of them built boats and sailed these small crafts out in the small hours of the morning to gather their catch.

If you travel to Toddville, or any one of a dozen or more small communities in the rural areas of Dorchester County, you will find house after house condemned by the government because sewage water has no place to go - the land and the water are one. Small mom and pop stores stand abandoned, their signs stil swinging in the wind. Post offices are closed, and crossroads communities have dwindled to only a few homes that the residents must leave each morning in order to work in town.

As you drive through the remains of these little communities, you may see broken boats parked in weed-choked yards or shifting sadly in the water where they are tied up to long unused piers. Women, who were once traveled to work at the local crab picking houses on boats of their own, grow old, surrounded by restless water and aging cats.

A way of life is dying here on the Chesapeake Bay and Dorchester County and sometimes I wonder what has happened to the beautiful world we were give. The country folks were good husbandmen who kept the land safe for hundreds of years, but those days are gone.Soon every trace of the old ways will be disappear and there will be no more watermen, no more crab pickers, no more homes dotting the marsh It is sad to contemplate.

I cannot save the waterside towns, but I hope that the tales of the brave souls who made their lives on the water will live on in the stories Ann and I find and record. I hope you think to preserve your own stories and keep on the sunny side. Love, Terry

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